Towards a Model of Inclusive Ethnic Advertising: An Abstract
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Recent years have seen an unpreceded development in ethnic marketing communications, with global and local brands attempting to reach the ethnic consumer segments with tailored messages. Research shows that ethnic marketing communications may act as a double-edged sword – they may enhance individuals’ positive feelings towards the brand (Appiah and Liu 2009) or, on the contrary, may trigger feelings of exclusion and exoticization (Schroeder and Borgerson 2005). The current study aims to address this inconsistency in the extant literature by investigating the impact of mono- and multi-ethnic advertising on ethnic consumers’ felt social inclusion in the broader society. Studying this is important because inclusive ethnic marketing campaigns contribute to ‘the increased visibility, social reality, and normative ethic of multicultural integration’ (Peñaloza 2017, p. 277) and are 47% more likely to be effective and to generate positive engagement (Campaign 2018). This abstract presents the results of a 2 × 2 experiment, which examines the effect of mono- and multi-ethnic advertisements with ethnically congruent or neutral products on targeted ethnic consumers’ ad-triggered social inclusion, attitudes towards the ad and purchase intentions. We define ethnic consumers’ ad-triggered social inclusion (hereinafter referred to as SIad) as an ethnic individual’s momentary feeling of acceptance, equality, empowerment and respect in the host society, triggered by his/her exposure to ethnic advertising. This definition is rooted in the conceptualization of subjective social inclusion (SSI) proposed in the extant literature (Licsandru and Cui 2018), and our original qualitative research conducted with a sample of 23 ethnic individuals. Drawing on the common in-group identity model (Gaertner et al. 1993) and the intergroup contact hypothesis (Allport 1954), this study shows that multi-ethnic advertisements arouse higher level of ad-triggered social inclusion than mono-ethnic advertisements (F(1,103) = 6.40, p < 0.05, ηp2 = 0.059). Results show that ad-triggered social inclusion leads to more positive attitudes towards the ad, supporting SIad’s important role in the ethnic advertising effectiveness. Moreover, ad-triggered social inclusion impacts ethnic consumers’ intentions to purchase the advertised product via their positive attitudes towards the ad (full mediation). The results challenge the self-congruity theory (McGuire et al. 1978) in that higher levels of ethnic congruence (either through ethnically congruent products or mono-ethnically targeted ads) does not trigger more positive response by ethnic consumers. On the contrary, higher levels of diversity are better received. Overall, this research makes an important practical and theoretical contribution, by clarifying the difference between mono- and multi-ethnic marketing communications and the mechanisms through which they impact the targeted ethnic consumers’ response, advancing previous findings focused on inclusive marketplaces (Thomas 2013) and inclusive spaces (Saatcioglu and Ozanne 2013), towards a model of inclusive ethnic advertising.